How Does Diatomaceous
Earth Work?

How does diatomaceous earth work? How can a powder do so many amazing things without hurting you or the environment? The answer lies in the power this substance has at a microscopic level.

So What is Diatomaceous Earth?

Also known as DE, diatomaceous earth is the fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton.

Although it resembles a talcum powder that is off-white, it is actually hundreds of thousands of sharp little shards.

These microscopic shards can't hurt humans or animals, but they can wreak havoc on insects that have exoskeletons, including fleas, ants and even bedbugs.

Diatoms (shown here at a microscopic level) are what make up diatomaceous earth.

How Does Diatomaceous Earth Work

So how does diatomaceous earth work? DE kills insects in two ways: First, it sticks to insects and gets stuck between their exoskeleton joints. As the insects crawls along, it gets cut up, much like you or I would if we walked barefoot along razor blades. Eventually, the insect bleeds to death. Also, DE is a very dry substance, as it cuts the insects, it absorbs their moisture, and the insects dry out and die.

A Safe Way to Kill Insects

And while DE is highly deadly for insects, it doesn't do a bit of harm to us. Instead, DE can actually be beneficial both as a nutrient and as a way of ridding our bodies of internal parasites. The only way DE could ever harm humans or animals is if we breath in a great deal of it. So be careful not to breathe in too much of DE, and you should be fine.

Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth Only

If you do decide to use diatomaceous earth, make sure you only get pure, food-grade diatomaceous earth (you can find it online here).  Avoid the diatomaceous earth made for swimming pools. That type of diatomaceous earth can be toxic to both humans and animals. You want to only get diatomaceous earth that has less than 1% crystalline silica.

How to Use

For bed bugs, apply DE in between the mattresses, on the carpet, and on any soft materials you have in the room where the bugs can hide and lay eggs. Cover all cracks of hardwood floors and base boards with DE as well, along your closets. Also, put the base of the legs of your bed in a smooth metal container and put a coating of DE in the bottom of the container.

And how does diatomaceous earth work for controlling internal parasites? There are many people who swear by it for cleansing the colon and controlling internal parasites, as well as preventing cancer. Add a heaping tablespoon to a glass of water or juice and take it up to three times a day.

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